Waking up at 3 a.m. to fight angry crowds and stand in long lines just to save a few bucks doesn't top everyone's "fun" list, but clearly some people love it, as Black Friday always brings out hoardes of shoppers. And for those deal-seekers, their habit may actually be good for their health.
When Claremont University researchers gave female shoppers coupons, the women's oxytocin levels increased. Since the hormone is linked to love and trust, scientists believe this positive feeling is why we love coupons so much. With Black Friday, there's also the sense of competition and possibility of fighting over goods that can make people feel playful and excited. And for many, the day after Thanksgiving is a holiday in and of itself. It's a tradition—something you do with your friends and loved ones.
"For the person who’s been doing this for decades, this is as much of their Thanksgiving tradition as having turkey," researcher Jane Boyd Thomas, Ph.D., told the Atlantic. "That’s why they’re going to endure lines and probably even thrive in the lines."
If you're one of those people who gets a high off of shopping in packed malls and seeing how much money you can save on holiday gifts, here are five ways to be sure you come home smiling instead of screaming (and please don't trample anyone to death while you're out there!):
1. Prioritize. You're not going to be able to get all the deals you want. It just won't happen. So make a list of what you want, try to scout out where they'll be and how much they'll cost ahead of time, and focus on the most expensive or largest items once you're actually shopping.
2. Let your iPhone find the best deals for you. Yup, there's an app for that. Download Scratch Hard, a mobile shopping assistant and location-based search engine that can locate the best deals for you. All you have to do is "scratch" the screen and it will offer up deals from nearby retailers. The more you "scratch" to uncover an offer, the more offers you'll receive.
3. Double-check that your credit card is ready. There's nothing worse than being "that person" who gets up to the register with a pile of goods only to be turned away because your card's declined. Be sure before you head out that your credit and debit cards will be ready to accept the charges, then set a budget for yourself and stick to it as best you can.
4. Read the return policies. Each retailer is different, so try to take note of their fine print (most have their policies listed on their websites) before you make a purchase so you'll know what you will be able to return if need be and what you won't.
5. Bring a friend. Working out, road trips, hitting the bars...almost everything is better with a friend, and Black Friday shopping's no exception. Plus, it's easier. Two or more people in one group can split up and grab up all the items you need in half the time.